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Leonard ready for national Junior Miss

Staff Writer | June 11, 2010 9:00 PM

COEUR d'ALENE - Madison Leonard has some busy days ahead of her after she graduates tonight from Coeur d'Alene High School.

The salutatorian for CHS's Class of 2010 will travel to Mobile, Ala., Sunday to represent Idaho in America's Junior Miss scholarship program.

Leonard, 18, of Hayden Lake, claimed the title of Idaho's Junior Miss in Pocatello last fall, and earned the right to enter the national finals to compete for $150,000 in scholarships.

"It's been an eight-month-long time of waiting and anticipating. The girls from other states and I have been getting to know each other on Facebook," Leonard said. "I'm really looking forward to meeting them and kind of have an awesome final Junior Miss experience."

For the two weeks leading up to the national finals, which take place June 24 to 26 in Mobile, Leonard and Junior Misses from all 50 states will be doing volunteer work with local nonprofits, meeting with organizations and program sponsors, and "a lot of rehearsing."

"Each girl has a Girl Scout troop assigned to them," Leonard said.

A busy schedule should come easy to Leonard, who is an International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme graduate, an Idaho 5A Interscholastic Star, an Idaho Top Scholar and a Girls State delegate.

Her community involvement includes earning a Young Womanhood Recognition Award, chair of Youth Outreach in North Idaho, former president and current secretary of Youth Group, Teen Aid Project tutor, Idaho Drug Free Youth and Human Rights Club.

Leonard has played lead in several high school musicals, she sings publicly and plays cello in the Chamber Orchestra.

The road to Mobile began in earnest for Leonard in April 2009 when she was named Coeur d'Alene's 2010 Junior Miss.

"My Junior Miss experience has been phenomenal," Leonard said.

She has considered it a privilege and honor to be a spokesperson for the organization, and to represent Idaho as she has carried out the responsibilities that come with the state Junior Miss title.

Leonard is grateful she had the opportunity to give the local Boys and Girls Club a presentation about "Be Your Best Self," a nationwide Junior Miss organization outreach to encourage self-esteem in young people.

"It's the heart of Junior Miss. It promotes being healthy and ambitious and involved," Leonard said. "It was awesome to give that message to young boys and girls because I really think it's something that can change your life."